2020 has brought devastation to Australia and Puerto Rico. The Baxter team is responding in real-time.
As of January 2020, Baxter employees in both Australia and Puerto Rico are safe and taking action, and our organization is providing support to aid communities and ensure patients and clinicians have continued access to our life-sustaining products.
Australia Bushfire Emergency
An unprecedented bushfire emergency in Australia has forced the evacuation of towns and shut down major airports and roads. Local Baxter colleagues have united to help tackle on-the-ground challenges, working with emergency services personnel and customers to reroute and reschedule deliveries; assisting with patients who have been displaced, evacuated or are in high-risk areas; and leading local fundraising and donation campaigns to support volunteer emergency services personnel fighting fires and caring for impacted wildlife.
Additionally, the Baxter International Foundation has pledged $100,000 to the Australian Red Cross, which will support relief efforts such as temporary accommodation for displaced residents, delivery of essential food and water to communities cut off by fires, and medical aid to volunteer firefighters and burn victims. The funds may also assist the rebuilding of hundreds of homes and businesses destroyed or damaged in the fires.
Puerto Rico Earthquakes and Aftershocks
Throughout January, Puerto Rico has experienced a series of earthquakes and aftershock effects, with the island’s residents facing displacement, extended power outages and complicating access to basic needs. Immediately following the initial earthquake, we implemented our emergency preparedness process and have worked closely with authorities to understand and manage the situation as it evolves.
In addition to maintaining consistent product supply, The Baxter International Foundation has committed financial support to non-profit partners to aid the island. In total, the Foundation has committed $175,000 to support Puerto Rico in 2020 through existing grant commitments and additional disaster relief funds for our partners International Medical Corps and Project HOPE.
We have also authorized our non-profit partners to deploy products that are pre-positioned for use in times of crisis. Through this manufacture-to-donate program, we partner with relief organizations such as Americares, Direct Relief and Partners In Health to help ensure the people impacted in a disaster have access to essential Baxter products. These products are proactively manufactured twice a year specifically for donation to address needs in underserved communities.
Finally, our internal Employee Disaster Relief Fund is set up to help employees globally who are facing financial hardship from property damage following a natural disaster — and our commitment to making a meaningful difference for employees, patients, clinicians and communities worldwide remains steadfast.